British researchers investigated the long term effects of LSD. It’s well documented that LSD may induce a psychosis, and participants involved with the study did indeed score higher on a test meant to gauge the disorder. Weeks after the first hit, however, the participants exhibited increased optimism and trait openness in the mid to long term.



For the experiment 20 volunteers with no episodes of mental illness were enlisted. Each was given an intravenous dose of 75 µg worth of LSD in one occasion and and an intravenous saline placebo in another. Each dose was at least 2 weeks space apart. During the trip, the participants were evaluated using the Altered States of Consciousness questionnaire and the Psychotomimetic States Inventory (PSI).A measure of optimism (the Revised Life Orientation Test), the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, and the Peter’s Delusions Inventory were issued at baseline and 2 weeks after each session.

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According to the results, the participants had  high scores on the PSI test, but were sensibly happier two weeks after taking LSD. There was no changed in delusional thinking.

The researchers conclude that LSD can “improve psychological wellbeing in the mid to long term,” via a mechanism that involves a residue of ‘loosened cognition’. This is psychiatrist leet speak meaning following an LSD trip users are still left with some psychological relics. The mind is more open to alternative cognitive paths, and strays from the warn paths. A user on reddit explains it quite well:

‘Your normal, everyday life you have all these potential social situations you could run into, and you’re holding a deck of index cards that you’ve put in the order you’re most likely to run into those situations. Stop at Starbucks for a coffee on the way to work, there’s a card for that. Boss stops by your office when you get to work, there’s a card for that. Spouse calls you before you leave work to tell you to pick something up from the store on the way home, there’s a card for that. Cards with a script to get you through any given situation. Sometimes you might get thrown a curveball and a rare situation comes up where you have to search for the right card, rather than it being the next card in the deck.’